Participating in an interview over the phone is an entirely different beast than a face-to-face encounter; what you say and how you say it become even more important. With that in mind, here are some quick tips for mastering the phone interview:
1. Pay attention
First things first – shut down your computer and turn off your cell phone, TV, radio, etc…
Be sure you are in a private room, away from screaming children, barking dogs, etc… You shouldn’t have any distractions.
Have a copy of your resume in front of you, and a pen and pad of paper to make notes on.
“Pay complete, total and full attention to the person on the other end of the line as if you were staring them in the eye,” says Karen, a communications coach, “People can read and feel your body language across the miles, so, act as if they were in the room with you so they can feel your energy, presence and attention.”
Further, she claims that standing up while you participate in the interview will help you stay focused.”It will give you more energy in your voice if you stand,” and “Also, smile while you talk so that you sound friendly and enthused.”
2. Be clear
Since you’re on the phone, you’ll need to speak as clearly as possible. “Pronounce your words clearly and don’t trail off at the end of a sentence,” says Karen. “You want to make sure you are heard and understood. Additionally, pause to give the person on the other end of the line a chance to digest what you are saying and to participate in the conversation.”
3. Be prepared
Since the telephone interview is most commonly a screening, you’ll need to go the extra mile to connect with the interviewer. In order to do this, be sure to decide in advance which questions you might ask when prompted by your interviewer.
“Think about what you want the other person to know so you don’t spend the entire interview simply answering questions,” says Karen, “By only answering questions, you miss opportunities to deliver key points if the other person on the other end of the phone doesn’t ask you a question to trigger one of these points.”
You should also prepare by having examples to highlight your strengths. “Be warm and personal by backing it up with examples, stories and anecdotes that the person on the other end of the phone can relate to and understand,” says Karen. She adds that you should be sure to tell them you are looking forward to meeting them.
“They are trying to screen you out, so don’t give them a reason to put you in the ‘no’ pile,” she says. “Stay upbeat, positive and attentive.”